RIPLEY – In the not-so-distant future, Caleb Casto’s goal is to be a stock broker.

In the running circles, the former Ripley Viking standout’s stock certainly grew as he outdistanced the competition to win the 2016 Firecracker 2-Miler on Monday.

Casto, who ran competitively for two years at West Liberty State University and now competes for WVU’s club cross country and track teams, crossed the finish line on Main Street in front of the court house in a time of 10:58.5.

“It was awesome,” said Casto, a 2013 graudate of Ripley High School.

The race, which unfolded again this year on the (rain-soaked) streets of Ripley is part of the city’s mammoth Fourth of July festivities.

“I had taken a year off (from competitive road runs) so it was nice to get back at it.”

Casto’s best finish in the Firecracker prior to Monday’s win was third.

“When we made the turnaround at Gino’s, I just took off,” Casto said. “I heard the people cheering and it was a huge adrenaline rush.”

One of those he heard toward the finish was his father Joe, who just happens to be his son’s biggest fan.

“It’s just a pretty nice race with all the fans,” Casto said.

Another one looking on was younger brother Jake, who is currently a part of the running programs at the University of Charleston. “He had just run 19 miles the day before (part of his offseason workout for the Golden Eagles),” Casto said. “He wanted to run (in the Firecracker) but didn’t want to mess up his training schedule.”

While Casto was the first male to finish and overall winner, 27 year old Hilary Bright was the female winner. 

Bright, who placed 11th overall, recorded a time of 13:26.4.

Casto feels that a weight training program was a big part of his victory.

“I had really never lifted before. I started lifting and not only have I been getting stronger, but I just feel better all the way around.”

And nothing feels any better than winning a race in your hometown.

“I had forgotten what racing was like,” he said. “It has lit my fire.”

It’s all one could expect from a future stock broker and champion of the 2016 Firecracker 2-Miler.